Srinagar: The much hyped Horticulture Mission or Horticulture Technology Mission launched with an aim to promote holistic growth of the horticulture sector through an area based regionally differentiated strategies, has come under scanner in Kashmirs one of the largest apple producing district Shopian.
According to a report prepared by Statistics and Evaluation Office, major embezzlement have been found in the implementation of various national and state level schemes meant for the benefit of orchadists to promote horticulture.
While the former Chief Horticulture Officer of the district has already been suspended for his involvement in the scandal, investigation has been started against the other officials.
The record and data provided by the horticulture department to the Statistics and Evaluation Office, the district horticulture department claimed to have spent a whopping chunk of money for the public welfare.
Giving figures the Horticulture department said it distributed 79.77 lakh rupees among the orchadists for rejuvenation of plants, 74 lakhs as subsidy among the people for spray motors and other things, 21 lakhs for irrigation to orchards, six lakhs for farm handling units and nine lakh fourteen thousand for public awareness programs.
However, when the Statics and Evaluation office conducted the reality check about the crores of money spent, major variations were found as most of the beneficiaries proved fake.
The schemes are part of the Mission for Integration Development of Horticulture (MIDH) for the overall promotion and development of the horticulture in Shopian. It has been found that during 2014 and 2015, there have been major variations and most of the subsidies given on tractors, spray motors and other horticulture gadgets have been granted in favour of the people, who dont exist on the ground.
The report which was himself released by DC Shopian, has found major variations to the tune of lakhs of rupees in different schemes.
These are fake names. The money has gone somewhere else, a source said.
The Statistics and Evaluation Office in this apple rich district is assigned to monitor the overall functioning of the departments. The survey was conducted in eight horticulture zones, including Chief Horticulture Office and District Horticulture Office Shopian, and it was found that the schemes werent properly implemented on the ground.
The guidelines of the schemes werent even followed. Women empowerment, public awareness which has a special allocation of funds in these schemes were dumped down, according to our KNS correspondent.
The 81-page report of the Statics and Evaluation office department has sought vigilance probe into it.
It is a first kind of its report in which some shocking revelations have come to the fore about the functioning of horticulture department. (KNS)
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